Heading into last night’s outing with three games remaining, forward Aleksander Barkov matched another record in Florida Panthers history.
With not much on the line until the end of the season, all we can really look forward to is watching our core players pad their stats.
In a way, it’s depressing, knowing that the Florida Panthers are going to miss out on the playoffs in yet another season. Considering that these final few games are meaningless, it’s always nice to see your stars rack up points.
Last night, heading into the game against Washington, captain Aleksander Barkov was coming in with 91 points. For anyone who knows their Panthers history, Barkov was just three points shy of matching Pavel Bure’s 94-point season with the Cats back in 1999-00.
What’s significant about Bure’s 94-point season is that it’s the most a player has put up in a single season with the Florida Panthers.
Of course, heading into the match with three games remaining (one being last night’s game), it was only a matter of time until Barkov matched that record.
Already up 2-0 against the Caps in the second period, Barkov got on the scoresheet with an assist on Vinnie Trocheck’s shorthanded goal. The helper brought his tally to 92 points; just two more until he reached Bure’s record!
Then, as the Panthers continued coming at the Capitals in waves, Barkov beautifully set up Troy Brouwer with an easy tap-in goal.
After Luongo made the initial save, Dadonov picked up the loose rebound and charged the down the ice into Capitals territory.
As he entered swiftly, he fed Barkov with a cross-crease pass. Once receiving the pass onto his stick, Barkov threaded a pass between two Capital players and onto Brouwer’s tape. Brouwer was left all alone in front to tap in the Panthers’ fourth of the night.
With 93 on his tally and looking for the extra point to tie Bure, Barkov’s hands were a little preoccupied when the Panthers almost collapsed.
In the span of ten minutes in the final frame, the Cats conceded three times, providing the Caps with sudden life. The remaining two minutes of the game had to be the most hectic, with the Panthers scrambling around their own zone, struggling to get loose pucks out.
But the moment the Panthers did get out of their own zone, was the moment they closed out the game for good. And Barkov (in part) is to be thanked.
Once the puck squirted out of the zone, Barkov pounced on the loose puck, skating around a couple of Capital players with full possession, while feeding Dadonov a pass to push the play up.
As soon as the puck reached Dadonov’s stick, he found Trocheck open and instantly fed him a pass to shoot on the empty goal. Trocheck did just that and the Panthers closed out the hockey game, winning by a score of 5-3.
Providing a helper on Trocheck’s empty-net goal, Barkov notched his third assist of the game, bringing his point tally to 94 points – tied with Bure for the most in a single season by a Florida Panther player.
Honestly, with the way Barkov has played all season, this came with little to no surprise. It was only a matter of time until he reached Bure’s record, which was bound to be matched at some point.
With two games remaining until the closure of the 2018-19 season, Barkov will have the chance to not only set a new points record in franchise history but as well as a chance to hit the 100-point mark for the first time in his NHL career.
If there’s anyone on this team who deserved this, it’s none other than Aleksander Barkov. His game has continued to evolve after every season and his commitment to his team and teammates is second to none.